Friday, August 03, 2007

Couple Quotes Regarding Ontological Density

There may be no more important a task today then the study of our ontological density. (This post links to a previous one 6 Degrees to the Waning of Ontological Density.)

“Every being is more than itself. All things are related to a reality above and beyond themselves. From this reference alone can they be perfected and carried to fulfillment. Failing their reference to the Other all things, all orders of reality, become empty shells.”
Romano Guardini

(Aramis here) (I grant the exceptions, however) There has hardly been a person raised in our modern societies that has this reference of the Other - of The Real Transcendence as in Jeremiah, Jesus or Paul. The modern question of whether one believes in God or not, points to this lack of urgency or reality of God in our world (demonstrating the waning of ontological density) and therefore we are not much more than walking shells today. Jung says “once man is cut off from the nourishing roots of instinct, he becomes the shuttle cock of every wind that blows….and nothing short of a catastrophe can bring him back to health.” (1945,201). Well Girard and Oughourlian tell us of the only 2 ways of restoring stability (health) and that is either: 1) through the false transcendence of the sacrificial and scapegoating mechanism which no longer works due to the biblical revelation; or 2) the Real Transcendence of the God who Christ revealed on the cross. I maintain that I must surrender my desire (compulsive, preoccupation with the other) so that I more readily re-present Christ in all my relations.

“I knew a man, a priest, who spoke in almost the same tone in his room, in a church, in a lector hall. Who expressed himself in almost the same terms whether before little children or among philosophers. Who said the same things to the infidels or our modern society, to pagans from the far-east and to the faithful. In his discourse, which never attained eloquence, the machinery of proof was always reduced to a minimum. There was no debate. It was as free before strangers as in a group of intimate friends. His politeness, exquisite by the way, ignored the conventional pleasantries. Never a man, in a sense, who was less adapted, but this man was all things to all men and of his plentitude everybody partook.”
Henri de Lubac

(Aramis here) Now this man has ontological density! I don't think we comprehend the magnitude of scandal in this world with so many of us operating with paper thin ontological density - representing little or no attention spans, ultra short fuses, and knee-jerk reactionary responses to any suggested alternative to a primative sacred. The friend who de Lubac paints us a portrait of in the above quote should be a role model for us to imitate.

tip of the hat to Gil Bailie and his tape series The Gift of Self - tape 5.

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